Know what to expect.

Judges will be delineated based on expertise and experience into three categories for team submissions.

The following criteria will guide the judges' decisions:

  • Quality of idea
  • Scale of the potential opportunity
  • Competitive differentiation
  • Strength of management team
  • Clarity and pervasiveness of submitted NEC documents: executive summary, pitch video, business plan and investor pitch.

The judges will function as potential supporters and investors deciding which startup they would likely fund. Judges will use a Likert scale to rank each submitted NEC document according to an outlined judging rubric with a ranking of one (poorest quality) to nine (highest quality).


Preliminary Judging

Executive Summary Evaluation (45 possible points):

  1. Does the summary adequately describe the problem?
  2. Has the team clearly described the market potential?
  3. Has a feasible solution been presented?
  4. Was the proposition to investors clearly presented?
  5. Is the summary well written and succinct?

Pitch Video Evaluation (18 possible points):

The highest scoring pitch videos will:

  • Be compelling – show your passion for the project and why it is necessary/important
  • Share the details of your project in a succinct and clear way- what it is you are doing and who is the target audience
  • Demonstrate quality and professionalism through the video presentation – you will be judged on your creativity and how the video holds the judges’ attentions
  • Include the dollar amount you are seeking to raise and what it will be used for
    • The amount doesn't need to correlate with NEC prize money amounts
    • This is your first round of seed money and should be no more than an $100,000 ask
    • This amount should correlate with how much it will cost you to create your minimal viable product

Please look under the Resource Tab for more guidance on pitch videos.


finalist business plan submission judging

Business Plan Evaluation (126 total points):

Product and Services:

  1. Is the value proposition evaluated comprehensively?
  2. Does the product/service differentiate itself from the existing competition?
  3. Does the submission address relevant risks?

Preparation for Launch:

  1. Does the submission clearly describe the market and economic opportunities/risks?
  2. Does the submission identify progress made toward any milestones? (licenses, patents, etc.)
  3. Does the pricing model reflect an understanding of the economics and potential growth opportunities of the business?

Execution Plan:

  1. Does the submission clearly outline future, achievable milestones?
  2. Does the submission convincingly identify how the target market will be reached?
  3. Does the submission outline a clear sales strategy? Is it outlined how the submission will sell to their first customers?
  4. Does the submission effectively outline a plan to scale the business?
  5. Does the team have all of the necessary skills to execute the proposed plan? If not, is there a reasonable plan in place for acquiring missing skill sets?
  6. Does the submission present a clear investment proposal that describes the funding/resources required to execute the plan?
  7. Does the submission address any needs for additional key people and strategies to attract these individuals?
  8. Are contingencies and exit strategies addressed?

finalist investor pitch presentation judging

Investor Pitch Evaluation (81 possible points):

  1. Did the team provide proof of concept?
  2. Was the value created by the new product/services adequately proven?
  3. Was the attractiveness of the market opportunity clearly articulated?
  4. Does the proposed venture have a clear competitive advantage?
  5. Did the management team demonstrate a clear capability to operate the business as it is presented?
  6. Did the team clearly address the capital requirements and financial forecast?
  7. Does the business demonstrate a real investment opportunity?
  8. Were the presenter(s) and visual aids strong and convincing?
  9. Did the team supply convincing and thorough answers to judges’ inquiries?